Bali to Gili Islands Step-by-step how to get there in 2022
The Gili Islands are a group of three islands located east of Bali, off the coast of Lombok. The word “Gili” literally means “island.” The Gilis are a popular destination for travelers due to its white sand beaches, crystal-clear oceans, and beautiful coral reefs. The most developed of the three is Gili Trawangan, which is 3 kilometers long and 2 kilometers broad.
Are you looking for a tropical getaway? Or perhaps you just want to get away from everyday life? Every island has its own individuality. Look for one that is similar to yours.
Note: Before planning any trip, read the most recent travel restrictions and always follow government advice.
The Differences Between the Three Gili Islands
Each of the three islands, while equally lovely, has a distinct ambiance. The islands are named in order from west to east:
- Gili Trawangan – (quick link Bali to Gili Trawangan)
- Gili Meno – (quick link Bali to Gili Meno)
- Gili Air – (quick link Bali to Gili Air)
You should first choose which of the Gili Islands you wish to see before traveling from Bali. If you’re still undecided about which island to visit, we’ll go through the distinctions between the three Gili Islands first.
Gili Trawangan: The Social Scene
The biggest, liveliest, and most developed of the three Gili Islands is Gili Trawangan, sometimes known as Gili T. With a plethora of reputable diving schools to select from, Gili Trawangan is also one of the world’s cheapest and safest places to learn to dive.
Gili T has a really welcoming atmosphere and is full of individuals eager to meet new people. The social scene is quite appealing; each night of the week, a new club or dive center bar holds a party, ensuring that everyone ends up in the same area.
Gili Meno: The Romantic Escape
Gili Meno, the smallest and calmest of the three Gilis, boasts the nicest beaches of them all, with swaths of white sand sprinkled with stubby trees and crystal blue water. As soon as you walk off the boat and witness couples getting cozy on the beach with thatched-roof bungalows for two dotting the coastline beyond them, you can sense a distinct honeymoon vibe.
Gili Air: The Chill-out Spot
Gili Air is a great combination of the two Gilis. While it has many of the same amenities as Gili T, such as restaurant and diving school franchises, it is almost as calm as Gili Meno. The island has a somewhat hippy vibe to it – imagine guitar playing and Bob Marley sounds – and it’s challenging Ubud for the title of best yoga destination in Indonesia. Air is also the only Gili with unbroken views of Lombok’s steep northern shore from across the sea.
Bali to the Gili Islands
From Bali, there are two main routes to the Gili Islands. A flight from Bali to Lombok first and a boat to the Gili Islands is an option. You may also take a ferry from Bali to the Gili Islands, which can be either a quick or slow ferry.
Covid restrictions: The Gili Islands are part of the Lombok area, which is not the same as Bali. As a result, travel restrictions are in place.
Flight From Bali to Lombok
This 25-minute flight from Bali’s Denpasar airport (Ngurah Rai) to Lombok International Airport is inexpensive and convenient, with fares starting at roughly $20 USD. You’ll need to take a cab or a private automobile to Bangsal Port from Lombok International Airport, which is near the city of Praya. It will take around 2 hours, and a taxi (we recommend Bluebird cab!) would set you back roughly IDR250,000 ($18USD).
From Bangsal Port, tourists may take public boats or speed boats to the Gili Islands. You can miss the last of the public and speed boats if you come after 4:30 p.m. In this situation, you have the option of staying the night in Lombok or chartering a private boat to the Gilis.
Flying is now a significantly longer route than taking one of the quick boats from Bali to the Gili Islands, thanks to the recent relocation of the Lombok airport from Mataram to Praya. The airport shuttle from the new Lombok International airport (Bandara Internasional Lombok (BIL)) to the Gili Islands costs almost as much as the flight.
We recommend taking one of the reputed speed boats to the Gili Islands, as this is currently the quickest and most popular method to get there.
Bali to the Gili Islands by Boat
So we’ll concentrate on how to travel to the Gili Islands by boat from Bali. You must first pick which departure spot is most convenient for you.
If you’re planning on visiting South Bali, Serangan is the perfect place to start. Serangan is located near the towns of Nusa Dua and Sanur (see Nusa Penida to Gili Islands). So, how do you go from Seminyak to the Gili Islands, for example? A ticket from Serangan to either Gili Trawangan or Gili Air would be purchased. Padang Bai is the finest departure point whether you’re staying in Ubud, Candidasa, Sidemen, Amed, or anywhere else in central or northern Bali. Keep in mind that getting to Padang Bai may take some time, however certain locations may offer free pickup as part of their ticket. If you wish to go via Serangan and return through Padang Bai, that is also an option.
Your choice of speed boat will be determined by a few things, including where you are leaving from and how much time you want to spend on the water rather than on the road. Boats departing from Padang Bai will have a shorter crossing time than boats departing from Serangan port, although the trip to Padang Bai harbor may take considerably longer if you are staying in Seminyak.
Which Harbor Do the Ferries to the Gili Islands Depart From?
Ferries go from Padang Bai to the Gili Islands, however, there used to be other boats that went from Serangan Port and Sanur.
During the epidemic, however, Serangan and Sanur harbors shut down ferry services to the Gili Islands. There is just one choice left, which is to depart from Padang Bai. Fortunately, this has always been the best option.
From Padang Bai to Gili Islands
Since the outbreak, only Padang Bai ferries are available. The other ports, on the other hand, are expected to reopen as well.
Regardless of which Gili islands you wish to visit, we recommend boarding a ferry from Padang Bai. The distance between Padang Bai and the Gili Islands is the smallest, therefore boats only take 1.5-2 hours.
The waters between Bali and the Gili Islands may be choppy at times, so it’s best to take the quickest route possible over water.
Another reason to depart from Padang Bai is that there are more ferry companies serving the Gili Islands from Padang Bai. As a result, there will be greater competition, resulting in cheaper ferry ticket prices.
To compare, the Padang Bai ferry takes 1.5-2 hours, while the Sanur and Serangan boats take 3-4.5 hours.
The estimated arrival time is based on Trawangan, so plan on arriving 30 minutes later if you stay at Gili Air. All three Gili islands have the same prices.
How To Get To Padang Bai?
You will now need to arrange your own transportation to Padang Bai, despite the fact that there were various booking choices available including pick-up services before the epidemic.
Grab and Gojek have the best prices, and if you split the bill, the extra expense won’t be too much.
From Sanur and Serangan to the Gili Islands
Some tourists would prefer taking a ferry from Serangan or Sanur Beach Port while vacationing in Sanur.
Taking a boat from Sanur Beach Port has the obvious advantage of eliminating the additional car travel.
You may also book a ferry from Serangan Port, which is the second-largest port for boats departing for the Gili Islands (after Padang Bai).
While the port appears to be near to Sanur, it is about 30 minutes south, and ferries will take as least 3 hours, as opposed to 1.5 hours from Padang Bai.
Finally, you’ll probably save money by taking a boat from Padang Bai.
Slow Boat From Bali/Lombok to the Gili Islands
Some or all of the boat companies will not run if the water is extremely turbulent. In this instance, or if you’re seeking the cheapest mode of transportation, the “slow boat” is a choice. From Bali to Lombok, there is a local boat that runs every 60 to 90 minutes. The drawback is that it’s a lengthier trip, taking between four and six hours one way. It’s also less comfortable (you might not even get a seat), and it’s generally busier. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’ll almost certainly end up being a thrilling story to tell.
The slow boat will depart from Padang Bai; the dock is located somewhat south of where the rapid boats depart. This will ultimately lead you to Lombok’s Lembar Port. You must then take a cab or other mode of transportation to Bangsal Port (this will likely be included in your ticket if you book through a tourist shop). This trip will take between an hour and a half to two hours, depending on how many stops you make. You may take a public boat from Bangsal to Gili Trawangan (with stops at Gili Air and Gili Meno), which will take around 30 to 45 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Ferry Company Is The Best to Book With?
The majority of ferries from Bali to the Gili Islands drop off passengers at Trawangan, with the exception of a few that stop in Gili Air.
Even yet, the ferry companies that run between Bali and the Gili Islands have a lot of variances.
Eka Jaya, Wahan Gili Ocean, Scoot Fast Cruises, Semaya One, and Ostina are the most popular ferry operators.
UPDATE ON COVID: Ferry operators are gradually reopening their routes, however, the number of providers is still restricted as of February 2022.
How Long Does It Take To Travel From Bali to Gili?
The times may vary depending on where you are staying (and whether or not you require a hotel pick-up). Pick-up from the hotel (also see Gili T hotels) is normally between 1 to 2 hours before departure, with check-in one hour prior to departure. Boat departures from South Bali typically take 2-2,5 hours, Padang Bai departures take roughly 1,5 hours, and Amed to Gili Trawangan departures take around 1 hour.
Tip: To get the shortest travel and maybe a free pick-up, verify which harbor is nearest to your accommodation.
How Can I Get Around in Gili Islands?
The Gili Islands’ sole motorized vehicles are utilized for construction or public functions such as trash carrying. One of the things that make the Gili Islands so charming and enticing is the lack of motorized traffic. The rare electric scooter can be seen, but generally, everyone travels by bicycle or on foot.
You may rent a horse carriage to transport you and your belongings to your hotel when you first arrive at the harbor. Depending on how far your accommodation is from the dock, horse carriage charges range from 100,000 to 200,000 IDR.
My first piece of advice is to spend a little more money and go on one of the faster boats. There are several slower choices, but they are often less desired and provide a less pleasant experience. Also, if you’re prone to motion sickness, the faster boats are the way to go!
If you’re coming from Bali, you may take a boat from Serangan (near Nusa Dua and Sanur), Padang Bai (more central and closer to towns like Ubud), or Amed. There are numerous speed boats available, with trips lasting anything from one to two and a half hours.
Ferry services are provided by a variety of businesses, however, most routes have set tariffs. One of the most trusted firms to book with is Bluewater Express. The website is up to date, so you may check timings and purchase tickets online, or visit a tour office to do so.